The Who and Why of Finding your Head of Corporate Responsibility

By Odgers Berndtson and The Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility

The Who and Why of Finding your Head of Corporate Responsibility

Odgers believes in ethical business. We aim to be ethical in all our business dealings; to be a good employer; and to be a business partner for the long term.

In recent years we have seen many clients specifying that they are looking for candidates who understand broader societal issues and how these impact on business. We have also filled a number of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility positions in major corporates and, of course, Odgers handled the search for the Doughty Chair of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management.

So, it was a natural fit for us, when David Grayson from the Doughty Centre at Cranfield University suggested on this think-piece.

A team of Odgers volunteers has met with David on several occasions to develop this paper. The Odgers team led by partner Stuart Morton have conducted more than 30 detailed interviews with businessmen and women including CEOs, main board directors responsible for Corporate Responsibility as well as a number of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability directors.

Those interviewed are from companies considered leading the way in embedding CR into business practice, who view being responsible as the right thing to do. I am particularly grateful to the Odgers team who have fitted these interviews in around their busy day jobs.

The ensuing draft was then shared with interviewees as well as a number of other business people who attended an Odgers lunch with the Doughty Centre and / or a follow‐up round‐table. We hope that this final product will help companies who are trying to embed Corporate Responsibility further; and who want to ensure that their specialist function is fit for purpose and is as effective as possible especially in these difficult trading conditions. In some of the companies we have studied the CR function has been undergoing rapid change in both its position within the organisational change in both position within the structure and in the nature of its mandate.

In general,the changes have been towards an increasingly central role in the strategic debate within the firm, and a higher level of integration with business functions. The movement from the organisational periphery towards the centre is welcome, of course, but the road ahead seems to be still long and uphill, particularly in light of the changing nature of the “challenge”.

If CR specialists are to assume a role of champions(or at least co-champions) of internal change, then they will need to obtain a much stronger voice and a more central position with respect to the organisational power structure, to have a real chance to succeed.” General managers attitudes towards Corporate Responsibility “The RESPONSE PROJECT” (2007) – INSEAD for European Academy for Business in Society

Share this story



Next Event

Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit 2024